Alana Johns is a writer and Year 2 student at BHSEC Cleveland.
As a young black woman, I have been taught from a very young age that the world does not love me. They will tell me to tame my hair and watch my tone, they will pay me less but rob me every month, they will shoot at me in broad daylight, and they will assault me because my body is “provocative”. As the world is, there is no love for me; there are only barriers. It is because of this that I wear my hair like a crown and I talk so loud that the whole world can hear me and I do show skin to satisfy myself. I allow myself to be furious at the way people of color and women are treated, because if not me, then who? I will not change who I am to satisfy a world that does not love me, and I will not sit by as the absence of love hurts human beings. I am not the first or last person to protest this injustice. Human rights have been neglected for centuries, but there was a man who has combated these barriers to the very core: Jalaluddin Rumi. It is Rumi’s eagerness to seek liberation of all people’s hearts in his poems that break the barriers we have established since the beginning of time. Through analyzing Christopher D. Lee’s “Great Leaders Encourage the Heart,” we may understand Rumi’s ideas of equality and are not radical but sensible and rooted in love.
No man, woman, or child is undeserving of being treated with respect, appreciation, and love. Egalitarianism is the doctrine that all people are deserving of equal rights and are each a priority. I would argue egalitarianism is a philosophy that finds its roots in the teachings of Rumi. He shows no prejudice in his writing, inviting all to “come, whoever you are!” (Rumi, 1). Rumi believes every person has the right to read his work and hear his words because above any other label, we are all human. I believe that Rumi would say something like “No labels shall stunt your personal growth.” His desire to learn and teach others is what empowers him to delve past the barriers we have created. Rumi recognizes that knowledge is love as ignorance is hate. He is willing to learn, understand, and love others. In all of his wisdom, he is able to “love you, he, she, we,” because “in the garden of mystic lovers, these are not true distinctions” (Rumi, 8). The world we live in is dismal but Rumi has offered us a place to gather and heal. The things that divide us are only physical so we must recognize and love the sameness in each human being. What is most important is our humanity which unites us.
Rumi’s message matters because we do not live in a world where everyone is equal and safe. The world we live in today runs rampant with pain and fear. Pain because we see each other being neglected, abused, and murdered and feel helpless to stop it. Fear because we don’t want to be neglected, abused, or murdered ourselves. I don’t want to live in pain or fear but the world is inescapable. Society has told me to be cautious of men because there is a “one out of six” chance that I will be sexually assaulted before I turn thirty-four (RAINN). Society sees the color of my skin as a threat, so I am two times more likely to be shot by an officer than a Caucasian/ White individual (The Guardian). This is remedial but society is content with planting fear in humans under the pretense of safety rather than creating a world of equality. Fear does not create safety, though; only love and acceptance does. To create a world without pain and fear, we must make each other feel “positive, empowered, worthy, appreciated, and supported” (Lee, 4). Inside every human being is a soul which “appreciates being appreciated” (Lee, 2). By nurturing their soul we, in turn, nurture the world.
Despite Rumi’s and many other’s reasoning, the fight for equality still rages on. At times, it feels as if no one is truly willing to change the world we live in. We have been made to feel comfortable in our demise. There is a fear of disturbing this comfort that is within us all but a disturbance is most necessary. We are not being good to each other and we are not showing love to one another. It is when we get lost in ourselves that we begin to not see others. We become stranded boats, seeing “no light and no land” and it is this isolation that leads to hopelessness and hostility (Rumi, 9). The world needs the goodness that can only come from loving and respecting one another. No matter “first, last, outer, inner,” we are all only “breath breathing human being[s],” (Rumi, 5). We are strong but we are also delicate. Every human, no matter what makes them different, deserves to be cared for. It is not radical to show love. It is not radical to show compassion. It is not radical to make a change for the better. It is, however, radical to naturalize a world of anguish.
Rumi was a man of great wisdom whose ideas have contributed to the decades-long fight for equality. His unwavering love for all people is an inspiration for a more inclusive, appreciative, and peaceful world. Rumi’s ideology is indeed necessary today. Acceptance and appreciation are simple to give yet equality is still met with resistance. Gender, sexuality, race, nationality, and religion are not things to be demonized or shamed. They are a part of each person’s identity and make each individual human who they are but they are also just a label. We are all fundamentally the same, and deserving of consideration, appreciation, and respect. Within every human is a soul that is connected to the next and the next and so forth. It is time we create a world where love for each soul is found within all people’s hearts.